Why Celebrate Blasphemy Day?

Looks like there has arisen a worthy cause for International Blasphemy Day — repealing the Irish Blasphemy law and providing Ireland with a secular constitution.   It’s hard to believe in 2009 there’s a country with a blasphemy law on the books.

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14 thoughts on “Why Celebrate Blasphemy Day?

  1. It’s hard to believe? You’re in for a shock then. All the following nations (or multinational political entities) have blasphemy laws in existence:

    Afghanistan
    Algeria
    Australia
    Austria
    Bangladesh
    Canada
    Denmark
    Egypt
    European Union
    Finland
    Germany
    Greece
    Iceland
    India
    Indonesia
    Iran
    Ireland
    Israel
    Jordan
    Kuwait
    Malaysia
    Malta
    Netherlands
    New Zealand
    Nigeria
    Pakistan
    Saudi Arabia
    Sudan
    Switzerland
    United Arab Emirates
    United Kingdom
    United States of America (In some states)
    Yemen

  2. Thanks for the support, Paul.

    Jonolan, you are right, it is a problem around the world. Although you can drop the UK from the list – they abolished their blasphemy law last year.

    The others fall into three main categories:

    Islamic States, where blasphemy laws are used to persecute religious minorities.

    Modern pluralist States that have old blasphemy laws on the books from previous eras, but which usually recognise them as anachronistic and rarely if ever prosecute anyone under them.

    Ireland, which is unique in creating a new blasphemy crime in the 21st century.

  3. It’ll be interesting to research, study, learn and understand the language in the forth-coming Blasphemy Law. For example, is it used to ensure no religious beliefs, as a rule, are attached? Is it possible the effort is to protect people of controversial religions (for example Islam) from retaliatory activities.

    What about the antithesis of the title of the law? Does the law mean that prayer and/ or other practices, to include certain garb, might be allowed in, or back in, schools?

    Is the law designed to be expressive or repressive?

    Can anyone offer a link to the development language and text associated with the law?

    Cork

  4. Michael,

    Yeah, the UK dropped its blasphemy laws but effectively replaced them with their hate speech / religious insult laws. 😦

    Go ahead, tell a Muslim in the UK that he worships a false God created out of the syphilitic ravings 6th century pedophile and see how fast you’re up on charges. 😉

  5. No problem, Paul. I’m a theist and for the most part despise and loath the atheists that I’ve run into, both in person and on-line, but I’m also a firm believer in the freedom of speech insofar as criminalizing it is concerned – I do reserve the right to flatten someone who gets too offensive just as I would assume they would if and when I did so. 😉

  6. Thanks jonolan.

    It looks, after only a quick read, mind you, that the intent there is to reduce, if not prohibit, anyone from speaking against people for religious reasons.

    So, I don’t take this as an attempt to force any religion, or God, for that matter, on the good people of Ireland. It does appear to be an awkward measure (similar to Great Britain’s) to protect people trying to practice their religion. An example might be prohibiting slurs or denying people access to schools because of their garb (for example scarves and skull caps).

    A true and arguable pity here is the need for such laws. It’s less about free speech as it is courtesy and tolerance.

    Cork

  7. @ Brian

    I got the same feeling about it. That’s how tyranny starts though, with the reduction of freedoms for “good of society.” As soon as you criminalize speech, you’re on that nasty road.

    We have it in the US as well. Various Hate Crimes / Hate Speech laws that criminalize both speech and thought.

  8. I hope this argument is still relevant on Monday and that Ireland hasn’t become a small province of the EU superstate.
    I’d rather have some blather about blasphemy than a EU foreign minister and defence policy. Not to mention the EU president.
    Here’s hoping for a big NO to Lisbon.

  9. Acknowledged Paul.

    One of the ways that governments try to win debates is to make debate by the other side illegal. Where to draw the line when it comes to free speech then becomes a slippery slope.

    In our own country, we already have laws around the act of assault. An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent ability to cause the harm. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal or civil liability.

    Oddly, it’s not illegal to use the N** word around black people, but it can result in riots (or rap songs). Conversely, the Constitution itself gets tested if a Muslim girl is told she can’t wear a scarf to public school.

    So, if the Blasphemy Law is going into effect, I’m still trying to discern it’s intent. If Ireland has laws similar to our own in place, I now begin to wonder if the stage is being set for something else. Or, it might be as simple as legislators trying to keep anyone from escalating matters to the level of battery, where people get more than their feelings hurt.

    Cork

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